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The True Identity of Women (Part 7)


Women: Qur’anic examples of outstanding human beings

There have been many discussions about the Islamic view of women and I have spoken in this regard on many occasions. I have repeatedly said that in the Holy Qur’an women have been mentioned as examples of believers and disbelievers. This is an interesting point.

Allah the Exalted mentions the names of two women as examples of outstanding and pious human beings - not examples of outstanding and pious women. That is to say, as far as human qualities and spiritual perfection are concerned, when Allah the Exalted wants to mention outstanding examples, He does not refer to prophets, great men and scholarly and religious personalities; rather He mentions the names of two women.

Regarding the issue of men and women, divine revelations contain important messages. Let us see what divine revelations say in this regard. Revelations have not been limited to lecturing. Instead they have attempted to present role models. Notice that when Allah the Exalted wants to put forth examples of pious human beings in the history of prophet hoods, He says, "And God sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh." [The Holy Qur’an,66: 11]There were so many believers who lived during the time of Prophet Moses. There were so many people who made efforts and sacrifices on the path of religious faith. But God mentions the name of woman. What is the reason? Does Allah the Exalted want to support women? Or is the issue something else?

The issue is that the woman whose name is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an was at the peak of spiritual transcendence and she was the only qualified example. This was before Fatima Zahra (S.A) had been born. This was before the Virgin Mary (S.A) had been born. The wife of Pharaoh was neither a prophet, nor the daughter of a prophet, nor the wife of a prophet, nor a member of a prophet's family. Spiritual education and development of a woman can help her reach such a position.

Considering womanhood as valuable and avoidance of comparing women with men

We need to have a comprehensive view of women and this comprehensive view exists in Islam. Considering the essence of womanhood as valuable is a great sign of respect for women and this is a principle in Islam. Being similar to men is not at all considered a virtue for women, just as being similar to women is not considered a virtue for men. Men and women have their own roles to play. They have their own positions and nature. In the wise system of creation, there are different purposes behind the creation of men and women, and these purposes have to be fulfilled. This is an important issue.

Playing a significant role in the family and in educating future generations

The reason why Islam attaches so much importance to the role of women in the family is that future generations of a society will develop and improve if women who live in that society are committed to their families, if they are interested in their families, if they care about raising children, if they attend to the needs of their children, if they breastfeed their children, if they raise their children in their arms, if they use every opportunity to provide cultural nourishment for their children - such as Islamic narrations, divine rules, Qur’anic stories and instructional stories. This is the genius of women and it is not at all in conflict with studying, teaching, working and entering the arena of politics and other such areas.

Advice to children: serve your mother more than your father

Islam has put women ahead of men in certain cases. For example, children have been advised to serve their mother more than their father. Mothers playa more important role in raising children and as a result, children have a heavier responsibility towards their mother.    

By Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

Mahjubah Magezine

Other links:

The True Identity of Women (Part 1)

The True Identity of Women (Part 2)

The True Identity of Women (Part 3)

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